The purpose for NASA’s Industry Day, currently scheduled for Nov. 30 in San Diego, is to meet and gather input from various commercial and academic partners who have an interest in or have technologies available that can support the UAS in the NAS project’s Systems Integration and Operationalization (SIO) demonstration in the summer of 2020. The goals for the day include leveraging agency research in integrated detect and avoid, command and control, and other state-of-the-art UAS vehicle technologies with a pathway toward Federal Aviation Administration certification for vehicle operations above 500 feet or more above ground level.
NASA Aeronautics is heavily involved in developing solutions for safe integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the national airspace. NASA has two UAS projects that work in lock-step with the Federal Aviation Administration to address the challenges facing UAS integration across the full spectrum of aircraft type and sizes, and the environments in which they fly.
NASA’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration in the National Airspace System project, or UAS in the NAS, will contribute capabilities designed to reduce the technical barriers related to safety and operational challenges associated with integrating larger-sized UAS — those that weigh 55 pounds or more and fly higher than 500 feet, including full-size repurposed Predator and Global Hawks — into the national airspace.
For UAS under 55 pounds that fly below 400 feet, NASA leads an associated effort called UAS Traffic Management, or UTM, that focuses on integration solutions to safely enable large scale small UAS operations in low altitude airspace. Accommodating these new entrants in a safe manner along with pre-existing users, such as gliders and helicopters, is a critical national objective.